By Christina Hermoso
Bishop Cerilo Casicas has been formally installed as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Marbel during rites held at the Christ the King Cathedral in Koronadal City early this week.
Church leaders from across the country attended the ceremony including Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Davao Archbishop and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Romulo Valles, and Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, who served as the principal consecrator and handed Casicas the signs of his office: a ring, a miter, and a crosier.
Casicas, 51, was the first local priest ordained in the diocese to assume the post. He was serving as director of Pastoral Formation and professor at the Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City when Pope Francis named him to the post last April. He replaces retired Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez who served the diocese for 37 years. The mandatory retirement age for bishops is 75 years old. Gutierrez is now 79. Casicas will shepherd more than 1.5 million Catholics in his diocese.
Quevedo, in his homily, reminded the newly installed bishop of the virtue of humility as he called on him “to seek out the poor in all the diocese, to travel to the villages and mountains, and to visit the B’laans.” Bishop Casicas’ “silent example of his life is the most eloquent way of proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,” Quevedo added.
A CBCP News post said, Casicas was born in Duero, Bohol in March 1967 and educated at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Seminary (OLPHS) in Koronadal City and at the Saint Francis Xavier Regional Seminary in Davao City.
Casicas was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Marbel on October 27, 1994. Following his ordination, he was named as the diocese’s chancellor until 1995 when he became the Dean of Studies at OLPHS. In 2003, he graduated summa cum laude in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, where he also served as chaplain of the Filipino community. He also attended German language courses at the Language Institute Kreuzberg in Bonn, Germany.
Upon his return, he became professor at the University of Notre Dame of Marbel from 2005 to 2006 and later became the vicar and pastor of the Jesus Good Shepherd Parish of Polomok until 2009. He spent a sabbatical year at the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Jordan in Guimaras, and a few years as parish vicar of three different parishes in General Santos City.